The initial goal of treatment is to reduce pain and swelling. To accomplish this, your doctor may recommend that you do the following:
- Take a break from strenuous activities to allow the injury to heal.
- Use a cane or crutches to avoiding putting your full weight on your injured leg.
- Apply ice packs several times a day to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Wrap the injured area with a compression bandage or wear compression shorts to minimize swelling.
- Rest with your leg elevated above the level of your heart, if possible, to improve drainage and minimize swelling.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), to reduce pain and inflammation.
After the initial pain and swelling of a hamstring injury subside, your doctor or a physical therapist can show you how to perform specific exercises designed to improve flexibility and strengthen your hamstring muscles.
If your muscle has pulled free from where it's connected to your pelvis or shinbone, orthopedic surgeons can reattach it. Severe muscle tears also can be repaired.
Dec. 05, 2012
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed Sept. 27, 2012.
- Fields KB, et al. Hamstring injuries. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 27, 2012.
- Hamstring muscle injuries. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00408. Accessed Sept. 28, 2012.
- Sprains and strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/sprains_strains/default.asp. Accessed Sept. 28, 2012.